Knarf was looking over his datapad; Shadie was leaning over his shoulder. Fane felt uneasy. He could sense Relsor in the Force, but the True Sith leader was still concealing his Force presence. The only reason Fane could even remotely sense him was because of his connection to him.
Fane glanced at the others in the bunker’s tapcaf. Talyc fidgeted, he looked stern. He sat across the table and had not moved when Fane, Shadie and Knarf had arrived. The rest of Clan Kandera was sitting around the table, chatting, or looking as uneasy as Fane felt. Master Usharr was a little farther away, telling old tales from his younger days to the gang of pirates.
‘Another clanmate was found dead,’ said Knarf, still looking at his datapad, ‘smoke rising from his body and with lightsaber cauterisations.’
Talyc shook his head. ‘This is clearly Relsor and Perce,’ he said. ‘It feels unsafe. Relsor and Perce and Jassahmi are on Mandalore and my home feels unsafe. It was safer on Tython.’
‘It was safer when he had us as his prisoners,’ said Shadie, ‘but it doesn’t change that the entire galaxy is at risk.’
‘Yeah, but he wouldn’t be on Mandalore if you weren’t here,’ said Talyc. ‘Mandalorians wouldn’t be dying if it weren’t for you. Though I’m still not so sure Relsor is behind all this.’
‘What does that mean?’ snapped Shadie.
‘I think you know what it means,’ said Talyc. ‘I still think one of you did it.’
‘I think it changes nothing,’ said Nriwe. ‘Relsor goes where he feels he can have the most control. He’s not following Shadie.’
‘Maybe not, but the reason I was captured and tortured, the reason we’ve lost so many clanmates and fellow Mandalorians, the reason Relsor and Perce are here, is because of the Jedi. They are to blame for Kelbourn’s death!’
Knarf breathed out a calculated breath that sounded more like an “oh”.
Fane’s heart sank further. Talyc still wasn’t himself, even after finding no evidence to prove his theories, but these were his words, and he knew Talyc was not possessed.
‘You’re being influenced by Relsor’s malady,’ said Fane. ‘Talyc–’
‘Don’t start, Fane. One of the main reasons everything that is ill that has befallen me is our relationship.’ That hurt. It hurt like a fresh wound every time Talyc mentioned it, and Fane was willing to bet Talyc knew it too.
Everyone fidgeted as though they had felt it.
‘He doesn’t mean it,’ said Nriwe in an apologetic tone.
‘Yes, I do,’ Talyc retorted.
An awkward silence fell, and many from the clan looked at Talyc in shock.
‘What are you implying?’ said Fane, clenching his jaw tightly.
‘You, Fane, are the malady in my life.’ There, Talyc had said the worst, it hurt more than any of the other jabs he’d said. ‘I think you should leave. Then Relsor would go with you and leave the rest of us alone.’
‘You want me to leave you alone?’
‘I think that would be best, yes.’ Talyc leaned forward on the table and, through clenched teeth, spoke slowly and menacingly. ‘I want you gone.’
Fane stood abruptly and stalked off.
* * *
Shadie was shocked and felt dread within her. She looked up at Talyc as he slowly stood.
‘Talyc,’ said Knarf, ‘snap out of it, already!’ He put his hands on Talyc’s shoulder.
‘The same goes for you. I want you all to leave the planet. I said so before.’
Knarf shook his head. ‘You’re not Mandalore, you can’t decide that.’
‘I’m your clan leader,’ said Talyc.
‘Aha! You revoked our right within the clan. We’re clanless.’ Knarf took on an as menacing tone. ‘We will stay.’
‘Leave Mandalore. Take your Sith with you. You want to help? Save some lives? Then just go!’ Knarf just stared at Talyc incredulously.
‘Knarf, let’s go,’ said Shadie. ‘We need to find Fane before he does something stupid.’
Nriwe looked at Shadie. ‘If you leave, who’s going to protect us from Relsor?’
‘Ask him!’ Shadie said, pointing at Talyc.
She felt urgency. She grabbed Knarf’s hand and pulled him to follow. She took out her comlink and called the Krayt Dragon.
‘Shadie, what’s wrong?’ came Trylia’s voice.
‘Where are you, you should have been here ages ago?’
‘We’re sorry,’ said Brenum, ‘we got detained.’
‘Detained?’ exclaimed Knarf.
‘Long story,’ said Lian. ‘We got yanked out of hyperspace, but we’re heading back in. We’ll be there as soon as we can, but it will still be some time. I truly wish I knew how to heal the Force from this distance.’
‘It’s not your fault,’ said Shadie, her voice softening. ‘We just need you here.’
‘I don’t know what to do. Relsor’s hiding in the Force, and he is using his dark side powers to influence the thoughts of those around us. Talyc has just asked us to leave Mandalore, but I know Relsor will not follow us.’
‘Well, we’ll be there soon,’ said Brenum. ‘We promise.’
‘And then I can heal the Force on Mandalore and Fane can hopefully defeat Relsor,’ said Lian.
‘Thank you,’ said Shadie, feeling much gratitude.
* * *
Fane grabbed his lightsaber and clipped it to his belt. He walked out of the fresher; he was ready. He exited the room and began down the corridor. He hated that he was not home and they all had to be at the grand Mandalorian fortress-bunker, though he did appreciate how it looked regal with its large halls; it made him think of the Senate Tower on Coruscant.
He had to hurry; he knew he might encounter Shadie, and he did not want her to talk him out of what he was about to do.
Fane walked at a rapid pace. He veered a corner and walked right into Knarf, whose forehead bumped right into his.
‘Don’t talk to me, Shadie, you won’t change my mind.’ Fane said quickly before either Shadie or Knarf could speak.
‘So you’re doing what I think you are?’
‘I’m going to defeat Relsor. I’m going to destroy him. He won’t be able to influence those whom I love anymore; he won’t be able to hurt anyone anymore. I will kill him and that’s that.’
‘But you’re not ready!’ said Shadie. ‘And I mean that with all the best intentions. Please reconsider!’
Fane looked at her, he looked at Knarf. ‘Sorry, I’m going to fight Relsor and I’m going to kill him once and for all.’
Fane walked past Shadie and Knarf and resumed his rapid pace. He briefly glanced back and saw Shadie shaking her head, but she didn’t give chase. Fane turned another corner and came face to face with Talyc. He stopped, his heart leaping and sinking, pulsing and pounding, all at the same time.
‘Good, you’re finally leaving!’ said Talyc.
‘No,’ said Fane. ‘I’m going to find Relsor, and I’m going to stop him from messing with your thoughts.’
‘You’re going to fight Relsor?’
Suddenly, Talyc’s face changed, as though something had just hit him, and he looked defeated.
‘You can’t fight him alone. I can’t let you fight him alone.’ Talyc’s voice was monotone but shaking.
‘You’ve changed your tune,’ said Fane.
‘I, I, I just,’ Talyc stammered. Talyc put his hand to his head and shook it. He looked shocked when he looked up at Fane again. ‘Fane. I don’t know where my anger came from.’
‘I know where it came from. I also know where mine is coming from. Our anger comes from the same person, one blue-faced Chiss who has caused enough hurt and malady on this galaxy. I’m going to end it once and for all.’
Fane walked around Talyc.
‘No!’ Talyc grabbed his arm and turned him around. ‘I can’t let you do this, Fane.’
‘Just hours ago you wanted me to leave!’ shouted Fane. ‘You said I was the malady in your life.’
Talyc’s eye darted this way and that; he shook his head. ‘Now that you’re leaving… If you fight him and fail…’
‘Then I’ll be out of your life for good, just like you wanted.’ Fane pulled himself away. ‘Now I’m asking you to leave me alone.’
‘I don’t want to lose you.’ Talyc’s voice was urgent. Fane turned to face him again. Talyc’s eyes were tender. ‘I’m sorry. I was so angry, but now I’m just scared. I don’t know what came over me. I can’t lose you, Fane; you’re my man.’
‘Whether I fight him now or later, I’m still the one who’s meant to defeat him. Why not fight him now, here on Mandalore?’
Talyc shook his head. ‘I don’t understand why I thought it was best for you to leave,’ said Talyc. ‘It’s as though something in my mind just… I’m sorry I pushed you away.’
Fane sighed. ‘Talyc, part of me is hurt, angry at you, but I know it was only the dark side influencing you.’ He paused.
‘Please stay,’ said Talyc. He put a hand on Fane’s face.
‘You’ve remembered our love,’ said Fane in understanding.
Talyc shook his head. ‘I never forgot, Fane, I simply lost my way.’ He looked down. ‘Forgive me.’
Fane saw a tear run down Talyc’s cheek. He wiped it with his thumb. ‘Talyc, I love you.’ He paused. ‘Do you truly think I’m the reason you were captured and tortured or…’
‘No,’ Talyc looked back up at him. ‘None of that was your fault. I’m such an idiot! The illusion was different this time, but it was there, and I’m an idiot to have believed anything from it. I need you, Fane. I need you in my life. I’m scared that you’ll die.’ Talyc paused. ‘I love you so much and I think hearing your determination to end Relsor’s life triggered within me the deep love I have for you, everything that was being suppressed by the dark side that is around us right now. I’m not Force-sensitive, but the love I have for you is strong enough, and it won. It took a little while, but it pierced through the darkness and I feel as though Relsor can’t influence me or create any more illusions around me. Shadie was right, true love can win, because we exist in the Force and true love heals, therefore it heals the Force around us. Lian is right; the Force needs me. But I need you, I cannot do my small part without you.’
‘Talyc, you know, eventually, I will have to fight him.’
‘Maybe, just not now, not tonight.’
Fane smiled. ‘You going to stop me?’
Talyc smiled back at him. His lips were on Fane’s before Fane could process how wide Talyc’s smile was, feeling the energies of their love. Talyc lifted him and Fane wrapped his legs around Talyc’s waist. Talyc walked forward and Fane felt the wall behind him as he slammed against it, all the while devouring Talyc’s face, as Talyc devoured his. He held on to Talyc, as the Mandalorian carried him to a room. He didn’t know whose, but he didn’t care. Fane began peeling off pieces of Talyc’s armour. He landed on the bed, Talyc atop him; he could feel the Force swirl, their love exuberating, all around him, within him. His stomach leapt, he felt it in his entire being, especially in his core, his stomach, his heart.
‘I’m not letting you go anywhere,’ said Talyc. ‘I’m going to do everything I can to keep you with me as long as I can.’
‘We will eventually need to leave the room,’ Fane said jokingly.
‘Not until I’m done with you.’
‘Then do all you want with me, Talyc. I’m yours, now and for all eternity.’
* * *
Shadie smiled and looked at Knarf. Her face was beaming with excitement, the happy kind she often felt when people around her were happy.
‘What’s going on?’ he asked, unsure.
‘It’s Fane,’ she said. ‘I think he reconciled with Talyc. I can feel, in the Force, that their love has healed a portion of the Force around us. I think it also means something else,’ she added, cocking her eyebrows and giving Knarf one her little smiles.
‘I’m glad to know that,’ said Knarf, ‘Relsor can hide and we will find him later. Do we have time before Lian, Brenum and Trylia arrive to, uh, engage in our own activities?’
‘Plenty! If that’s what you desire right now.’
Knarf laughed. ‘I’m going to tell Fane that feeling him and Talyc in the Force aroused you,’ he teased.
‘My love!’ she said in a high pitched tone. ‘That’s not what it is!’ Shadie added in protest.
Knarf laughed some more. ‘I know,’ he said. ‘But I think right now, I just want to hold you in my arms and feel our energies in a more relaxed manner and let that heal the Force around us.’
Shadie smiled. ‘That would make me very happy, to be in your arms and feel our love. Just the existence of it heals the Force, and feeling our energies heals me from my worries.’
Knarf took Shadie in his arms and they sat down. He closed his eyes and felt her. She held him tightly as she inhaled deeply. Knarf was afraid too, knowing that their enemy was here, undetected, hiding, and yet doing so much damage through the Force. But he was with his Lady, and they would find a way to make everything right again, they always did. Knarf kissed Shadie’s brow; she was already falling asleep. He closed his eyes and let their love reassure him for the moment, knowing everything would be okay, knowing the Force would guide them, and they would find their way to the best outcome for the galaxy.
* * *
Shadie was jolted out of sleep as there was a loud bang somewhere and something from the ceiling came crashing down in front of them. Knarf was up and reaching for his lightsaber. Shadie called hers through the Force. Someone hurried into the room, a Mandalorian guardsman.
‘I heard something, sounds like trouble.’
‘It does,’ said Shadie.
She kept her senses alert. There, in the Force, a presence moving so quickly she could barely see it if she didn’t know it was there. The next thing she knew, a black lightsaber was stabbing the Mandalorian in the chest.
‘Jassahmi!’ she shouted. ‘How is that possible?’
The Mirialan pulled out the black blade from the beskar armour as the Mandalorian fell to the ground. She smiled and twirled her lightsaber with a flurry.
‘This blade is imbued with the dark side. It can slice through anything.’
Jassahmi was out of the room and out of sight with such speed, there was no way Shadie or Knarf could go after her. She heard footsteps; others came running by.
‘We have to inform Talyc and Fane,’ said Shadie.
‘What’s going on?’ said Mandalore approaching.
‘It’s Jassahmi. Her darksaber is the one going through beskar’gam.’
‘Talyc,’ said Knarf into his helmet. ‘Talyc?’ He took his comlink. ‘Talyc!’
Shadie took her comlink too. ‘Fane, please come in. Fane! Jassahmi is here. Repeat, Jassahmi is here.’
* * *
Jassahmi slunk her way through an airshaft and slowly moved the hatch aside with the Force. She found her next target lying naked on the bed with his lover. Jedi Fane and Clan Leader Talyc were fast asleep.
She approached and stood looking over the bed on which they slept.
‘Sweet dreams,’ she said.
“Protectors of the Force” is written by Celinka Serre (2021).
Disclaimer: The Characters in this Fan-Fiction are new and have original names. The story is an original written work. The story is derivative and consistent of Fan-Fiction since it borrows the franchise world of Star Wars. Certain jargon and places, or concepts mentioned, along with the SW Old Republic universe belong to Lucasfilm Ltd. and Disney. No characters or story lines from the films are used. No story lines or characters from the games or books are used. A handful of characters from the games may be referenced, but are not the main focus in this fanfic story. This fan-fiction story falls under Fair Use.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.